Guest Blogger

New study links genetics to transsexuality

Filed By Guest Blogger | October 28, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, civil rights, Harry Benjamin Syndrome, reason for trans, trans rights, transgender, transsexual

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Cathryn Platine is a Pagan Crone and aging hippy chick who lives in the Catskills as the founder of a Goddess tradition. A lifelong gadfly and civil rights advocate, the government considers her an "aging ineffectual threat."

Image.jpgA study released recently has linked genetics to classic transsexuality.

The ink isn't even dry on this before the transgender community has started trying to pick it apart but let's be realistic here. The Danish BSTc studies, the recent German studies confirming olfactory pheromone sensitivity in transsexual women falling within gendered (female) norms, and the repeated-several-times studies on the sex specific cognitive function also confirm the truth behind - at least for male to female classic transsexuals - the theory that they have a neurologically female central nervous system. The "markers" for determining physiological different responses to estrogen in classic transsexual women and AGs pretty much confirm this is true. In 15+ years of studies not a single study has weighed in on the psychological causality that has been clung to fiercely by those who would demonize transsexuality as a "choice". That's right, not one single study for this and all the studies confirming the neurological model.

It's pretty much official now - classic transsexuality is a neurological intersexed condition. No doubt we will later find it's more than genetic - that other factors can also cause the pre-natal neurological development to be in opposition to the physical sex traits - but this pretty much puts the last nail in the coffin for the "choice" and "it's a psychological condition" crowd. It also pretty much confirms the dreaded and hated Harry Benjamin Syndrome (HBS) basic contention.

Just what is this basic HBS contention that is so hated? It is simply that classic transsexuality is a neurological intersexed condition. That's it; that's the basic tenant of HBS.

The theory goes on to talk about onset of personal knowledge of gender variance, physiological indicators, and, in short, define classic transsexuality in the terms that became fairly well understood prior to the transgender spectrum crowd shouting it down. Please note: surgery is not addressed although it is considered a given that someone with a neurology totally at odds with their own body with eventually seek the maximum amount of correction to their bodies possible.

The constant charges of post-op elitism comes from the minds of those who blindly oppose the scientific reality "on the ground", not those of us who thoughtfully examined the issues and came to the conclusion that classic transsexuality is almost certainly physiological in origin. The theory is not a "transier than thou" position, although some mavericks take it to that point.

It does not, in a pure, non-self defense mode, define transgenders other than to draw the clear distinction based on the very "markers" that define the condition. In my own blog entry I lay out the markers - the historic conditions - that led researchers astray in the past and the sociological mistakes many of today's researchers make in opposing the physical causality model.

What this means politically is enormous. All discussions aside on whether someone born transsexual wishes to be seen as disabled, the Americans with Disabilities Act exemption for transsexuality under the Act is quite, quite specific. It exempts transsexuality not from physical causes.

That's right, this study just gave American transsexuals the keys to the civil rights kingdom. One - just one - high profile win in a Federal Court using this study would immediately grant full civil rights protections to every single transsexual in the US under the ADA.

Trans-activists, please think this time before you screw this up.


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I believe all the studies use the terms, "transsexuality/transsexualism."

This "classic" bit is still a classist, homophobic fiction.

please explain how this usage is even remotely homophobic?

I've heard of "Classic Coke." I agree with A on the last sentence in the above comment.

The study didn't split hairs on whether the transsexuals they looked at had to follow the outdated 1970s version of what was suppose to be the correct way to be a transsexual back then, or the 21st Century highly diversified category that transsexuals fall into today. Translate "classic" to mean "old school." The 21st Century is 9 years old now.

Danae Martin | October 28, 2008 12:35 PM

Absolutely nothing in the study justifies the idea that your particular revered subset of trans people. This study has a small sample. The rate at which this happens in the data is so low as to potentially be meaningless as "the one true cause".

In short, you are clinging on a flimsy study, and putting your vile ideology on it, when no one has ever supported it in the scientific community, especially not the scientists you bunch of old bitter overprivileged fools have kept presenting as such (e.g. Diamond believes all gender variance to have a biological component).

I found the findings fascinating; this would be the first confirmation of any part of the LGBT community being "born that way."

When I think classic I think "Old Shcool," and the "old School" conception of transsexuality is likely what the author meant as opposed to the ill-defined spectrum of transgender expression.

This finding would certainly lend credence to the experiences of the few women of operative that I know, all describe an agitated internal state driving them forwards to full transition if possible.

Just a fascinating finding, and what implications!

"Old school" is just that, the philosophy that was prevelent back in the 1960s and 1970s. The thought back then was that you had to look passable before transition, so 95% of today's transsexuals wouldn't qualify back then. You had to be heterosexual only, and since trans men didn't qualify at all, that meant that MtF's had to like men only.

You had to get surgery right away (translate: have lots of money,) quit your job, make up a completely false past, move to another part of the country and don't work in the same industry and you couldn't tell anyone, including those men you dated.

You had to jump through all the hoops the doctors put before you and if you missed just once, you were not allowed to continue. The doctors were famous for brainwashing those women back then to believe the only way to become a "true" transsexual was to follow thier rules to the letter. That's why transwomen who cling to those archaic ideals today think that those of us who cannot get SRS/GRS for ANY reason is not really a true transsexual. The word "true" has been substituted these days with the Karl Rove term of "classic." "Fasinating?" IDFTS

Well, are those of you who decry the post saying that transsexuality is a choice, that it is mutilation and that the TS surgery tracked people are deluded and need therapy?

You are starting to sound like radfemseps if you do think so, like Julie Bindel perhaps.

What is the problem if this proves to be the biological marker for transsexuality?
For those of us with close personal friendships with some women of operative history, it is obvious that there is a subset of people currently included in TG who are markedly different in what they experience....they do tend to defin themselves as TS or, and most often in my limited experience, simply as women rather than as TG.

The acrimony developing about this is so very indicative of the interminable infighting that the LGB community watches and suffers through.

There is a divide, and yes, a noticable, real divide in the trans community. It all has ramifications for the larger LGBT community.

P

I'm pretty sure no one here has denied the science, nor claimed it was a choice. If you want to keep on with the straw arguments, be my guest.

I think what most of us on the left side of trans politics decry is the politics you want to put the science to.

You want to deny people the right to self-identify. You want to deny people the right to hormones, and surgeries, and access to safe facilities. You want to villify people that don't identify, act like, or agree with you.

HBSers often get upset when we refer to you as trans folk. I won't do that. I will agree you are HBS women, women of surgical history, etc etc. In fact, in certain contexts I, myself, even use this language when I need to explain something in a conservative environment. I suggest you take some of your own medicine. Rights and privileges are for everyone. ENDA protects everyone, hate crime legislation protects everyone.

We all can benefit from this research, everyone from the humble crossdresser to the high and mighty person of surgical history . I just hope you HBSers don't fuck it up.

I am not trans; I am a Lesbian activist. I hve friends of operative history who are Lesbian women.

From the common elements in their experiences it always seemed as if there were something innate and biological driving them to transition, what they have described as occuring to them had similiar elements amongst all of them.

They have scarfed about some in the LGBT community denying the legitimacy of their womanhood, including some TG's

My interest in this at all is first of all in the first genetic marker for any LGBT subset, a major breakthrough which ought to put the lie to reparative therapy once and for all.

My other reason for interest is on behalf of those Lesbian women of operative history that I referred to earlier.

Maybe because of your limited exposure to us, then may I suggest you get to know more of us who cannot get SRS for various reasons and not base assumptions on only those who could afford SRS, or are not medically restricted from it.

As a note, Maura's exposure isn't entirely all that limited, and her position is not based in the same exclusionary concepts as the OP.

They do share some commonality of ideas, but don't paint the horse with the fence.

NOTE FROM BIL: I realize that this is a controversial subject and people feel very strongly one way or another. That does not, however, excuse bad behavior.

Our experiment is to talk about all sides of many LGBTQ issues so we can learn from each other. Calling names, being abusive or generally nasty will not spur learning - only more negativity.

If you need to review our comment policy, please do so now. (It's under each comments section.)

We're all adults, so I'll just remind everyone to be civil in their responses. I have faith that no one's comment will get TOSsed.

Not that anyone who has already commented has been nasty... I had planned on making the note the first comment, but I forgot about it. I just wanted to be clear that the note wasn't aimed at anyone in particular. :)

Bil,

You wouldn't let blatant homophobia on this blog. Why do you let blatant transphobia?

Rather interesting point, A. Why don't you let the Religious Right post here, Bil? This is the same thing. Where is Elaine Donnley's postings, or Pat Robertson? Trans people don't get the same considerations on this "LGB't'Q Blog?"

Haven't we let the Religious Right post here? I know that an ex-gay advocate did not too long ago, and there was Bil's crush on a cute fundie about a year ago. There have been a few generic gay jackasses and homocons who have guest posted here as well. (And they know who they are.)

Jeez. What's Bilerico's problem? This site has so jumped the shark.

Thank you Bil. I was aware there would be much negativity to this. For the record, "classic transsexual" is used to replace HBS since the reaction to that has been so strong. It simply means those who fit the classic transsexual profile of early onset of knowledge of being transsexual, experience dysphoric imperative and if left untreated eventually have a GID crisis. It has nothing whatsoever to do with appearance, sexual orientation or being "passable". The term became necessary because the meaning of "transsexual" had become so totally erased into transgender as to make it meaningless.

I hope that clears that up once and for all

Cathryn,

The medical field refers to it as transsexuality and doesn't make those distinctions that you make.

The study does not define transsexuals the way you do. In fact, it merely used self-identification as as the marker.

What do you make of that?

I have some thoughts on the greater question to come later, but A's comment is my thought exactly regarding the allocation of the finding to "classic"-only transsexuals. The study doesn't say that.

It does, however, put this in a category of partial genetic causal factors, meaning that there's probably a number of genes, and just having the gene doesn't mean that one will become full-blown "classic" T. It does suggest that similar aspects could partially manifest, which to me would mean that maybe our "non-classic" T sisters and brothers do share something with us after all. But we can let the researchers answer that one at some point down the road.

And yet, it isn't meaningless -- and is still separate from transgender.

Just checked. Yep, still in the dictionaries with the same meaning it had long long ago.

Funny thing -- it notes that some transgender people are transsexual, too.

Melanie Davis | October 28, 2008 2:57 PM

I don't know about the HBS sect, I started to read some of what was written, but the rhetoric turned me off pretty quickly, kind of like the rad-fems. This (admittedly small) study does re-enforce what I have felt for a while without any real proof, and so I feel that it's a welcome addition. I can understand that it also creates problems with the essentialism that will doubtlessly be a fallout. What if someone identifies as TS but doesn't have this genetic anomaly? would they not fall into the class that would possibly enjoy access to insurance-covered healthcare for their "condition?" Would they not be protected by a possibly favourable ruling regarding the ADA?

We can all identify as whatever we wish, that is a curse and a blessing. With scientific legitimisation of a part of the transgender spectrum, some people will have to rethink thier idea of what makes us who we are, again. This is the historical arc of Transgenderism. Terms, boxes , and identities have all changed over the past 100 years, even within my own 10 year transition. There has recently been a trend toward queering gender that I think has been brought out because we now have greater choices in living conditions and transition routes. Back in the good ole '90s, there was a distinct division among transsexuals, transvestites, crossdressers, drag kings and queens, intersex, and a less vocal group that fell outside those divisions. Now, everything is blurred and there is a growing group of LGBT people who refuse to identify as anything because the classifications of yesterday cannot encompass their identities.

What I think the author was trying to convey by using the long-outdated classification of "classic transsexualism" is that the medical and greater scientific community are still dealing with these concepts, internally. We can squabble amongst ourselves as to how we define ourselves and others like or dislike us, but the greater world is still trying to use language created by itself to define us. We define what is elitist and what is the right path within our community, and possibly, unfairly so, but to the outside world we are all the same. Ask a fundamentalist in America, and we are probably conceived as paedophillic cross-dressers. Ask a Thai person, and MtFs are probably all Kathoey, whereas FtMs may not be seen at all.

Parsing terminology and the like is all well and good, but it does nothing to further our struggle for equality and acceptance in the greater fabric of our societies. When we can get over our own egos and on to the problem of creating a united front from which to assert our rights, then we can afford the time to be nit-picky over what we view ourselves as. Right now for all intents and purposes, we're all still just queers.

"Classic?"

"O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell . . ."

Thanks for the post. I think it's important to have this perspective represented because we do tend to have a lot of folks here who tend to see HBS in different terms. Quite often it's seen more as a political perspective rather than, as you point out, the theory that transsexuality has a physiological component.

But I worry about how it actually gets applied in practice. If transsexuality has a physiological component, why a separate name for HBS folks and the trans crowd? Is that used to imply that there isn't a physiological component to transgenderism? More often than not, it seems to be a political distinction rather than a physiological one.

In fact, you seem to assume that those who criticize this study must be transgender and not HBS, what does that mean in that context? Maura in an above comment takes that further and assumes that transgender critics must of the study also oppose SRS, as if transgender people never get SRS. This is the context for HBS that I think many here have encountered more often, it's used as a political wedge to separate those who agree with you and those who don't, as opposed to a value-neutral way to reference causality.

As for the study, I think there are real problems with it that we should examine -- problems that any court would certainly tease out. First off, it was done by through Monash's gender clinic, which I hear is very restrictive and transphobic, that certainly gives me pause. And secondly, while 55.4% of trans women had the gene as opposed to 47.6% of cis men, that isn't very big when you take into account that trans women are a smaller population. See the below analysis from another blogger.

OK, OK, let's be serious now and assume that the incidence of MtF transness is 1:500, as suggested by Lynn Conway (presumably allowing for a somewhat broader definition of trans than the pink frilly one used by the clinic).

So that would mean there are 3800 trans women in Melbourne, of whom 2105 have the tranny gene, and 1695 do not.
Also, there are 1,896,200 cis men in Melbourne, of whom 902,591 have the tranny gene, and 993,609 do not.

To put it another way, there are 904,696 Melbournites who have the tranny gene, of whom a mere 2105 are trans.
Also, there are 995,304 Melbournites who do not have the tranny gene, of whom a whopping 1695 are trans.

So if you have the tranny gene, there is roughly a 0.23% chance that you are trans at all. If you do not have the tranny gene, there is roughly a 0.17% chance that you are trans at all.


Having the long version of the AR gene increases the chances of an XY individual being trans by roughly 0.06%.

http://baglieg.livejournal.com/311085.html


Tobi Hill-Meyer wrote:
"As for the study, I think there are real problems with it that we should examine -- problems that any court would certainly tease out. First off, it was done by through Monash's gender clinic, which I hear is very restrictive and transphobic, that certainly gives me pause."

and later approvingly quoted:

"a somewhat broader definition of trans than the pink frilly one used by the clinic"

I have the paper. There is misinformation being circulated about it, and the important finding is being undermined by that. Let me here deal with the way the Monash gender clinic and the people tested are being misrepresented.

That clinic has been helping transsexual people for several decades. When the evangelical-backed SRS-regrets people chose to attack SRS in Australia it was that clinic they targeted. That probably triggered the death of the psychiatrist there who had persuaded the geneticist authors of this paper to consider transsexuality seriously (and to whom they dedicate the paper). He had always believed it to be inborn and that had driven his determination to help. May considered him a very caring and much loved friend. How "transphobic" does that sound?

In only 40% of the study's samples is the person's sexuality known (neatly making it impossible for Blanchard, Lawrence or Bailey to exploit it). Some (un-stated number) of the people were not even on hormones. How "frilly pink" a selection or clinic does that sound?

36 of the 112 samples volunteered came from LA anyway. Does LA have "transphobic" or "frilly pink" clinics?

Quite opposite to the suggestions, it was probably almost fatal for the study - making the link they found much weaker - that they used the very loose DSM GID criteria and don't break down their samples by any possible distinguishing phenotypes (about which the various communities will probably never be able to agree for their guidance). Only by the length of the repeats and the allele combinations (around 10% of the samples had very much less sensitive (in the particular respect tested) androgen receptors than any of the control subjects).

It is widely believed that the GID definition was substituted for transsexuality in the DSM in order to re-include many homosexual people and blur that distinction, because some involved believe transexuality is often only an extreme form of homosexuality.

Recently two studies of 2D:4D finger ratios reached diametrically opposite results because one used SRS candidates and the other (by Zucker) only the GID definition. The first clearly found ratios in M2Fs firmly in the "female" range, and the latter found no connection.

Given that a study using loose criteria (but rigorous methods otherwise) still found a statistically significant difference on a gene deeply involved with maculinisation, it is, following the F2M study in July, major evidence that genomics are involved in gender identity. There are dozens, or more other genes that are also likely candidates for combined or greater involvement. This study was just one aspect of the first three being tested.

This is the evidenced-baaed practice person in my speaking out.

One study does not equate with fact. Many more rational control tests need to be conducted before a solid conclusion demonstrate validity. That said, one down! Less to go! Hooray!

I don't know about what everyone's saying here, but the linked article doesn't say anything about whether the study participants were HBS or transgender. I don't subscribe to Biology magazine, but maybe there was a better description of who participated in that article.

In 15+ years of studies not a single study has weighed in on the psychological causality that has been clung to fiercely by those who would demonize transsexuality as a "choice".

I don't get why "choice" should be demonization, but in our culture that cares much more about fault than it does about malice or intent, it apparently is. I hope that we can move beyond the place where we are right now that links "choice" with "mutable," "not a choice" with "genetic," and "mutable" with "you'd better effin' change."

Because even if all of the studies all came back and said that there was no genetic component to transsexualism, would you still think that people had a right to express their gender as suited them?

I know that being gay and being trans aren't the same thing, but on this front we seem to have a lot in common: there are definitely many gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who think that study that "proves" that sexuality isn't a choice (which would mean it has to be genetic, by their logic) would suddenly mean that we all get off the hook. It pains me to hear that we have so little respect for ourselves that we're looking to blame something else for our sexuality instead of living our lives to the fullest.

I do wonder about the ADA and if it will apply. It'll take a major lawsuit to change that, and I don't think this is the best supreme court to be hearing that case. Even the "liberals" on the court aren't that open to hearing anti-business cases.

PART 36 -- NONDISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY BY PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS AND IN COMMERCIAL FACILITIES

Subpart A -- General

Sec.36.104 Definitions.

(5) The term disability does not include --

(i) Transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders;

Not that the above includes 'classic transsexualism' as *transsexualism*, and that the GID not resulting from phys impair refers to any sort of get around other than IS.

Indeed, it expressly relies on the classification model presently in use in the DSM -- as was the intent of the Senator (Helms) who inserted it in there.

I'm not a lawyer, but I did cover the courts back when I was a journalist...

It's worth pointing out that even if this study showed unambiguously that transsexuals are "born that way" -- which it doesn't for the reasons others have pointed out -- there's just no way that the courts are going to overrule the clearly specified exclusion of LGBT people from ADA. (LGB people are excluded in Sec. 511(a). (Unless a law is ambiguously written, legislative intent is irrelevant and courts interpret the law as written.)

Lena, I detailed the legal aspects on Donna's blog entry. I also added a new blog entry on my own blog this morning detailing the legalities involved....

It's a fact, us hated HBSer's are now covered under the ADA.

No, its an incorrect opinion, Cathryn.

Not a fact.

She has no proof except what she seems to see generated in an alternative universe. Also, in that universe, there are no gay people, the US owns Russia, Palin is a Rhodes scholar and McCain is leading in the polls. Oh, and gas is 10 cents a gallon and is under ever square inch of the planet's surface.

(I love science fiction and fantasy and Cathryn can write it better then the "classic" authors.)

Cathryn, IANAL but I believe you're incorrect about ADA coverage.

The exact words are:

Under this chapter, the term "disability" shall not include

(1) transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders;

That plainly means that gender identity disorders other than transsexualism and transvestism may be covered if resulting from physical impairments, but that transsexualism and transvestitism are not, regardless of cause.

I'll repeat, the wording is such that neither transsexualism nor transvestism are covered even if resulting from physical impairments. Only other "gender identity disorders" caused by a "physical impairment".

Neither "physical impairments" nor "transsexualism" nor "transvestism" are defined in the ADA. It would be open to the court to decide that only those who are post-op and have regrets (so are not transsexual after all) and who, being post-op, have a "physical impairment" are covered.

Similarly, someone with genital injuries due to accident, and suffering a "gender identity disorder", insecurity about their gender, would be covered, as long as they were not formally diagnosed as transsexual nor as a (fetshistic) transvestite. Those who are Intersexed other than neurologically may be regarded as covered, depending on the definition of what is a "physical impairment".

Transsexuals though are explicitly excluded.

The courts may not decide this, but it's open for them to do so, and in keeping with past practice and even congressional intent.

Going to post the same in the other thread and then start following going forward.

That's not entirely true.

Under the Benjamin scale, one is still a transsexual if surgery isn't wanted.

Again and again, Just Wrong, especially making assumptions about people you know nothing about.

Again and again, Just Wrong, especially making assumptions about people you know nothing about.

Jennifer,

This response is to address all of your comments here. I’m sorry if you feel others have been insulting or hostile around this discussion, but I’d really like to have a non-antagonistic dialogue here.

I’m not entirely clear on what it is that you are advocating. You seem to be seeing this study as evidence that there is a genetic component precipitating SRS seeking transsexuals, which therefore provides validation, and presumably makes this population worthy of legal recognition, protections, and rights.

But it also appears as if you are trying to say that the study shows evidence that transgender people not seeking SRS do not have the same genetic component, which therefore invalidates and presumably makes this population unworthy of legal recognition, protections, and rights. At least that’s what I assume you mean by “a major blow to the transgender model.”

Now I make it a point to be respectful of all self-identifications and if you want to be seen as different from the “crossdressers, transgenderists, drag queens, etc” then I’ll wholeheartedly support that and defend that against anyone who attempts to say otherwise. However, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that in your attempt to be seen as different, you’re arguing that those you are different from are less deserving of rights, respect, and support.

Your derisive quotes around the term non-op indicates that you don’t feel it is real or valid. You place yourself in the position to determine who is and isn’t transsexual – regardless of what they have to say about it. And you claim that those who see themselves as transsexual but don’t meet your standards are somehow insulting those who are the “real” transsexuals. You say that those who are open about your trans status with others than you must be a "fake" transsexual. You even go so far as to suggest that someone identifying as transsexual yet not willing to take on a significant risk of death from medical complications during surgery must be a “fake” transsexual. All these “fake” transsexuals get put into the transgender category, which you then dismiss as people who “simply want to adopt a lifestyle.”

As someone who you would no doubt label as a “fake” transsexual, I can’t help but feel hurt and attacked when I read your comments, and I just have to wonder, do you realize how insulting you are being to other people? Why do you feel the need to do that? I really doubt it gets you any closer to obtaining your own rights.

That's pretty much what she's saying. Arguing with Just Jennifer is like arguing with a Fundamentalist. You will never change her mind.

Welcome to the "you're not real" club, by the way.

Madcity Renee | October 29, 2008 5:15 PM

Well, none of this transsexual gene crap really impacts my life in any concrete way that I can see. It doesn't make my life any easier and it doesn't change the fact that I am woman and that I didn't choose to be a woman the choice was made for me along time ago in mommy's tummy. I don't need a theory to validate my existence, cause I'm right here. All 5 feet 15 inches of me. The people it does impact are the kids coming out and people transitioning after me. That does concern me because who speaks for them, especially the kids?

The people who think being TS, HBS, or whatever you want to call it, is a choice will continue to do so, because they are thick as brick and proof means nothing to them. Look at all the gay bashers who still think being gay is choice 35 years after being gay was taken out of the DSM. It hasn't made "reparitive therapy" go away. Doesn't faze them in the least, cause they are religious zealots and religious belief isn't based on facts, it's based on belief. And neither the twain shall meet. If they think the Great Spaghettis Monster created the earth in six days and the earth is 4000 years old all the dinosaur fossils and in the world aren't going to change their minds. They see cavemen playing a game of catch with dinosaurs with jeezy creesy as the referee. Some people ya just can't reach....

I am post-operative with a partner who doesn't feel surgery is right for her. I believe if you need surgery you'll eat through a dead rhino's ass to get it. And I would have, had I needed to, but fortunately for me there was MasterCard..priceless. And Thailand was nice, and I healed up nice, thanks for asking.

The HBS crowd can self identify however they want, but what I don't appreciate is the fact that some people made up the term HBS and drew a line in the sand. Fine, go ahead and draw a line in the sand, it doesn't facilitate communication very well but whatever.

When people make something up they better have some medical creds when they start using it to alter the discourse of who is genuine and who isn't. I'm not HBS, I'm a woman with a unusual history. And I don't need a freaking diagnoses now cause I'm done with the medical bullshit and I don't think I'm better than someone who is gender queer or who doesn't want surgery. I just am.

What happened to saying, this is me? This is how I identify. Nothing, unless you have a sense of entitlement and let me tell ya folks the world doesn't owe you shit. If you haven't figured that out yet maybe you should start paying attention to all the people who aren't as fortunate as you and I have been. To have the ability to obtain the medical services we needed and the privileges in society to be who we are. We are all not as fortunate to have these things. Sisters are hurting out there right now. This very second. Please come down off the mountain and wake up already.

I don't see that any medical authorities pro or anti trans created this term, HBS, and I see it as some folks who think they are better than other people just trying to separate themselves from people they personally do not like. I tried to address this with some folks on the HBS website, which does have some smart people writing there and I did mentioned this, but when I disagreed with the HBS folks I got emails and my girlfriend got emails, rather stalker-ish emails, basically telling us we should change our minds or give up our identities as women. Fuck that noise... you first lady.

Ya know, it's the vitriol I can't handle, haven't we all been through enough just being ourselves, or at least trying to, to have to endure people trying to put themselves off as better with a theory with no medical cred?

That kind of superior behavior doesn't signify people with a position that is defensible. They made up HBS to feel better about themselves or whatever and I don't have a problem with that. I make shit up all the time to make myself feel better, but I don't attack people with it and I don't claim to have medical creds I do not have.

And, no you can't change my mind or defend your position by telling me I'm not genuine or attacking my girlfriend as not genuine. You want to attack my girl you better do it to my face and you better know how to defend yourself, cause this dyke doesn't like you calling her love less than who she is, she is a woman. Cowardly stalking her with threatening creepy emails or calling me a fake will get you nothing but the fish eye, if you had the guts to say that crap to my face. So lay off and cut the crap. HBS may have a some very good reasons for being created, some of which I may agree with, but until a medical body of some sort legitimizes it, it doesn't have any weight scientifically or more to the point, legislatively. Policy makers need medical creds to defend our position and HBS doesn't have that kind of cred. I don't really see the HBS crowd as helping women. I see it as divisive and, dare I say it, elitist. Oh no, I said it. Junk email bin on standby...

As far the ADA stuff goes, I did not have a disability and do not have a physical disability now. I might have a social disability, no, more like a social disadvantage. If I claim I'm disabled then you will have people with crooked teeth and bad breath claiming they are being oppressed too.
Boo frickin' hoo. Get a frickin' toothbrush, invest in a bottle of mouthwash.
Life's a bitch, put on fresh pair of panties and go to work already.

The ADA thing is old news. We a have right to exist because we're human, it's called human rights. Saying we are disabled is not a step forward, it's a step back. I also feel saying we are disabled is probably an insult to people who actually ARE disabled. I got up and put my clothes on this morning all by myself with no help, I'm not disabled. I'm just me and if people don't like me they have six billion other choices so pick another number - ya douche nozzle! I'm just fine being me. I don't need validation and I don't need someone telling me I'm lesser than the next gal.

Can't we all just get along kids?

I just want work, home, friends and family, however I personally define that. Other than being a woman with a past, I'm too fat and I don't have enough money, just like everyone else. No scientific theory, factual or not, is going to change those facts only I can.

Renee Simousek

Renee,
Can we clone you? You wouldn't happen to be a veteran, would you? Or, is your love a veteran? Just Wondering. We could use more like you as members of TAVA, veteran or not. If you don't mind me stealing a word from -----, this was a "classic" response. Just Perfect.

I Just Noticed something. Is the rest of your name "R.R. Tolkien?" You are that "classic" fantasy writer! I loved your Hobbits! Can I get your autograph?

"Classic dodge?" Well, that is the perfect label to what you and Cathryn have been trying to spoon feed everyone. "Classic transsexual" IS the "classic dodge."

"Well, cowpoke, it's 'bout time you get out of classic Dodge."

NOTE FROM BIL: All comments from Just Jennifer have been removed. She was banned from commenting previously and should not have been published. I apologize for allowing them to slip through the cracks and if it makes any threads hard to follow now.

I am sorry. Maybe if you removed my comments to her it would help, since I commented more times than others.

That's a lot of work, Monica. Folks'll have to make do. :)

Madcity Renee | October 29, 2008 10:13 PM

Clone me, huh? I'm flattered, but only if it makes me immensley weathy dear. And as far me being a veteran well, I got kicked out right after basic for dropping acid and missing the pot eradication duty they wanted me to show up for. Always sorry I missed that.. So, I don't think any group needs to have me representing them..what can I say I was in wierd place back then. Older and wiser now.

Renee

Okay, I'm not afraid to say this here.

"HBS is nothing more than junk science and half-baked ideas cooked up to justify the existence of trans women who need something in their lives to cling to."

HBS women will take any study that is trans related and twist the results to prove that they are more superior than other trans women. As much as they try to include trans men under the HBS umbrella, all of the articles that have been written about it are only about trans women. HBS women cannot justify the existence of trans men with their junk science and half-baked ideas.

Recently, the Religious Right pointed to John Money's debacle of the David Reimer case as "proof that a person's gender identity cannot be changed, so they cannot change their sex." Excuse me? They took the case and even though they agreed with the trans community that gender identity cannot be changed, but they then tagged it with the opposite conclusion that the case really proved.

HBS women do the same thing with legitimate trans-related studies. They take the results and twist them to get what they want out of it. Taking the results of this current study and jumping to the conclusion that the ADA covers us is a prime example of this leap of conclusions. It is amazing on how they can do that without any concrete proof, or breaking their stride.

But, in the absence of real proof, they will take the writings of other HBS women and use that to justify their statements. Then, the other woman does the same thing in their writings. This is another tactic they adopted by the Religious Right.

If you don't fit the tight HBS requirements, then you get vilified. Other trans women are called horrible names, are addressed with male pronouns and other hateful names. Renee in an above comment pointed this out. If you support equal rights for ALL people, you are vilified. If you support crossdressers, you are vilified. If you consider trans people to have a community, you are vilified. If you are a trans woman and still have a penis for ANY reason, then you are a "she-male," a term the Religious Right love to use for ALL trans women, including HBS women. Oddly enough, some of the most vocal HBS women are violating their own beliefs, because they are still "packing."

There is little or no difference between the Religious Right and the HBS women. And, just because the HBS women say they are now just women, they think the Religious Right will accept them happily. Which chapter in "The Lord of the Rings," did that idea come from?

The part the HBS women cannot seem to comprehend is that those people who hate, hates them just the same as the rest of us. The HBS women forget that if they stopped their hate language, they can take advantage of the saying, "There is safety in numbers." But, they keep screaming they don't want to be included in the trans community and we keep saying that's fine. Go away. What part of "Go away" are they having trouble understanding?

So, like the proverbial "bad penny," the HBS women keep turning up, screaming to be accepted and not wanting to be included. I guess the other thing they keep forgetting is that they catch more flies with sugar instead of vinegar. I just think they are trying to catch more flies with shit.

I am Monica Helms and I approve this message.

Monica, rather than reply at length, I'll just refer you to my poston the subject. Re HBS:

It's difficult for me to be in this position. They're right about so much, but some (and I emphasise some) are total fruit-loops in other ways. Hateful too. I just don't understand how a group of people so badly persecuted can join in the persecution of others.

I don't identify as "transgendered", nor as gay. In fact, they are both as alien concepts to me as is, well, masculinity. But I'm no androphobe, my homophobia is mainly a thing of the past, and my transphobia under control. Mainly. It leaks out on occasion....

I'm a member of the Australian HBS support group, simply because they're right about so much.

...

I'm hoping the Australian HBS group retains the moderate stance it has taken so far - basing its views on medical data, rather than psychological insecurities and elitism.

Why does this all have to be so complicated? *SIGH*

I agree with far too much of your post to say it's wholly, or even mainly,wrong. I think you do some of us a disservice though. I'm also afraid that the "some" is,in general, a minority.

I think I've managed to offend pretty much everybody now. *SIGH* again.

As regards ADA coverage, I've recently had cause to change my mind on that. The plain wording says ome thing, but there's this:

In a letter dating from 1994 to Senator John Kerry from James P. Turner, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division stated clearly that Gender Identity Disorder FROM a physical impairment is covered under the ADA. We have a legal opinion from the civil rights branch of the Attorney General’s office making our coverage clear.
As you know, where I differ from the mainstream of HBS ideology is that I think that "classic" transsexuality is just an extreme on a biologically-caused spectrum. That biology isn't binary, it can't be, there have to be gradations. Some men will have such severely feminised neurological body maps that they are uncomfortable with male genitalia: but it would be far more common to have some women who would be quite content with the male genitalia they were born with.

When I first started my unusual journey, I made a clear distinction between "us"- the "real women" - and "them"- those icky transgenders. I still don't understand many in the TG spectrum. But as I studied the biology, I learned more. There really is no clear boundary, all that fashionable BS about it being a spectrum was true, even though I didn't want it to be. The first realisation that shook my belief was that the op/no-op divide was useless as a metric.

I also looked at the Human Rights issue. I came from a place of belief where TS and IS people, those who had a "real" problem, deserved legal protection, and those who were merely "part timers" did not. That was before HBS BTW.

I learned a lot there too. I find it impossible to make a clear boundary between those Human Beings that "deserve" protection, and those Human Beings that don't. I may not be or understand all those "icky transgenders", but they and I are all Human, my bothers and sisters (and sometimes both). How can I persecute them, or stand by while others do?

I have to say that this is the most healthiest and overall accepting attitude coming from a person who says they fall under the HBS catagory I have ever seen. It is too bad that the American HBS'ers don't have this attitude, otherwise the contention would have never occured.

The only HBS women I have ever encountered have been the ones who have made assumptions about me and the so-called wrong direction my life has gone. To them, you cannot be an activist for all trans rights and be a real transsexual, even those who have had SRS. They get upset when I talk about trans rights, because I am somehow not qualified because I haven't had my penis inverted.

I will always include everyone in what I fight for, because it would sound silly to say, "I want all trans people to be protected, except . . . " And, what amazes me is that some HBS woman who say I cannot speak for pro-op trans women are also not pro-op. I get the impression that I can only understand pro-op women after I've had surgery. That's rather a stupid idea, if you ask me. I didn't have to become uranium to understand how nuclear power worked in the Navy, which is an area you're familar with.

I have a good transsexual friend who has admitted she is a bit uncomfortable around crossdressers, but is right there when it comes to fighting for the rights of all of us. There's nothing wrong with that.

Do you have any plan on trying to get the hot-headed American HBS-ers to understand a more subtle approach to getting their message out? Or, do you plan on keeping out of the frey? I personally think the latter is probably the safest.

Zoe, three sets of questions:

1. Where does "fetish" fall into your transgender spectrum? And in that same spectrum vein, what is the cutoff point where fetishism ends and transsexuality starts?

2. Do you see drag queens and the occasional crossdresser (one of which is indisputedly a fetish and the other arguably so, and both of which are transgender by definition and fall into the transgender spectrum) as being biological in nature and an intersex condition? If not, how do you reconcile your position?

3. Do you see no difference between the full time crossdressing non op who in no way claims to be female other than in presentation, all the while demanding acceptance as female by her presentation alone...and the very small percentage of transsexual non-ops who can not obtain GRS due to a serious medical issue? If you see no difference, how do you justify the "op/nonop divide...a useless metric"?

Sigh. There's the F word, again. I can't answer for Zoe, but here's another opinion: http://dentedbluemercedes.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/fetish-the-other-f-word/

Ah, the old problem of what does "Transgender" mean. I'll try to answer your questions:

1. I don't know. Seriously, I have no idea where psychological programming begins and neurology ends. I'm still studying the issue. I can't even be sure that psychological programming even exists at this point, though I believe it does.

"Fetish" seems to me to be about sexuality, and not gender. And that's a whole other issue, and probably a whole other part of the brain too.

2. See above. I believe that it is likely the occasional cross-dresser does so because of an incompletely formed gender identity, which may crystalise through experience towards one or the other extreme. I know too many women - perhaps most TS women - who occasionally cross-dressed as part of their journey. I never did, but I'm not typical, and even if I were typical, I'm not everyone, and can't expect what works for me to work for everyone. Biology is messy, there are gradations.

If Diamond is correct with his Biased-Transaction theory, then a purple (rather than pink or blue) neurology could lead to this. I'm not willing to discuss this much, as I'm still working on it, there are too many uncertainties.

Drag Queens/Kings I don't know enough about. I've never been a part of any "GLBT" scene, neither before nor after transition. I've never met one, and haven't studied the issue. As far as I know though, the issues we care about regarding discrimination in employment and other areas, and access to health care services don't apply to them. So please forgive my ignorance here, and it's likely to remain.

Someone who is male-bodied and occasionally cross-dresses could be:

A. A guy with fully male neurology who does it for harmless sexual thrills. They won't change.

B. A woman whose gender identity is not yet stable, but developing towards a more female extreme, driven by a fully female neurology. Cross-dressing will be unstable, increasing in persistance, and may lead to desire for hormones and even surgery later.

C. A person who is really neither male nor female (or a bit of both) whose neurology is only partly cross-gendered, but whose gender identity is stable. They won't change.

D. A person whose neurology is only mildly cross-gendered, and whose gender identity is still developing towards a more male extreme. They will tend to discontinue cross-dressing.

So the same fact - that someone with a male or mostly-male body dresses as a female sometimes - can be the result of different etiologies.

3. Oh there's a difference, just as there's a difference between mild cheddar and stilton.
They're still both cheeses though.

I happened to have a neurological body-image that was female, and didn't include male genitalia. But that is only part, and not even a very important part, of being a woman. I know women with CAH who are far better endowed than I ever was, even though they've given birth, and are comfortable with that. I know women who are non-op who are far more classically feminine than I am, I always was a bit of a geek and a tomboy.

On the other hand, since transition, I've learnt that I'm far more feminine than I thought I was before.

I'm working primarily on being a decent human being, and letting the M or F cards fall as they may. Since transition, and not having to do the boy act any more, I can be more me, and as it turns out, that's not just F but strongly so, much to my surprise. I had to let go, to accept, and not to fight any more, just let things be. But I would have accepted the other way too.

There is one unfortunate, dire and really awful possible consequence though of stressing "op/pre-op is not a good metric". And that is that it is likely to be mis-interpreted and mis-used by those who would deny surgery to those who need it.

But it's obvious.

Monica Helms exists. Monica Helms is no-op. Monica Helms is at least as female as I am. Ok, maybe I'm not female then, no matter what everyone else says about me. So let's move on to another example that might clarify things.

Mercedes Allen exists. Mercedes Allen was non-op. Mercedes Allen is now pre-op. Mercedes Allen's femininity did not change one whit because of her change of status. That blows the whole idea out of the water.

Sorry, while I would really like there to be a nice neat metric, a clean divide, a simple test such as operative status, the facts don't support it.

For me, Zoe Brain, I could have lived with only a Barbie Doll surgery. I mean that literally, the dysfunctional glands were being cooked by internal heat and were a cancer risk, and the rest had atrophied so much the urinary tract needed re-plumbing. That was before hormones.

I could have lived with it - but only the way I could have lived with blindness or paraplegia. I was willing to go to extremes to get a full genital reconstruction, and due to the intransigence of the Australian Passport Office, I was seriously planning on how to arrange illegal re-entry into Australia afterwards. (Flight to Singapore, boat to Jakarta, taxi to fishing village and pay snakeheads 50% down if you must know).

But that was me. My body image included female genitalia. The thing is, so does some men's. Yes, there exist men whose only neurological cross-gendering is in the body image department. They don't want to be female in any way, they just want to be men with vaginas.

Intellectually, I know that that's just a consequence of cross-gendered neurology, a relatively minor glitch compared to my own extreme weirdness.

Emotionally, I want to run away screaming. Every fibre of my being, every instinct, tells me they're batshit crazy. But then, how many people think the same about me, and manage to overcome that? My list of failings is long enough without adding yet more hypocrisy to the end.

WHAT?????? I have no idea what HBS is! please explain... Last I knew my transgenderd status was "Your a Transsexual" As for the gean study I still prefer Levi's, however the Walmart brand is not bad for the price!

Melanie Davis | November 2, 2008 2:01 AM

Wal Mart carries Levi's now. I just found out a couple of nights ago. I'm so happy, I could pee!

And I hate Wal Mart (worked there for 3 months in college) for the record, but Levi's for under $30, I could definitely change my mind. A bit.

A couple of purely factual corrections, please. The study was of DNA samples of people considered to match the DSM GID criteria, which is much looser than is probably meant by "classic transsexualism". Some (an un-stated number) were not even using hormones.

The samples in the BSTc studies were Dutch, not Danish.

It is widely believed that the DSM GID criteria were substituted for transsexuality in the DSM in order to re-include many homosexual people and blur the distinction - some involved strongly believe transsexuality in many patients is only homosexuality gone too far. Certainly, some children's clinics use GID criteria to admit patients then claim such a high proportion turn out simply homosexual that it is not safe to accept that any are transsexual until the early teens have past and the lesbian and gay youngsters have absented themselves.

Recently two studies of 2D:4D finger ratios (determined by week 8 of gestation) reached diametrically opposite results because one used SRS candidates and the other (by Zucker) the GID criteria. The first found ratios in the female range in M2Fs, and the latter could find no connection.

In this case it is quite likely that more and much stronger genetic connections would be found if more detailed information on the people who donated the samples were correlated with the genetic results. When all possible relevant genes (several dozen) had been tested the genetic facts might then tell us which of the many different ways "GID" presents are related, and so end the bitter disputes exhibited here.